Colchester United head coach John McGreal believes the club’s five deadline-day signings have helped boost competition for places within his squad.

Each of the U’s new arrivals on the final day of last month’s transfer window featured in their 1-1 draw with Chesterfield, on Tuesday night.

Brandon Hanlan stepped off the bench to score Colchester’s equaliser on his debut and and Sanmi Odelusi was also a second-half substitute, while Brandon Comley, Ryan Inniss and Nicke Kabamba all started against the Spireites.

Colchester are currently without a host of players due to injury and boss McGreal says it is important his new signings are stepping up to the plate.

McGreal said: “They’ve really added to the competition and they need to, because we’ve got ten injuries to players who can’t be selected for first-team football.

“Those five boys who have been involved have really helped and they’ve improved the squad by giving extra competition and also affecting the games.”

McGreal was pleased to see Hanlan bag Colchester’s late equaliser against Chesterfield.

It was the Charlton Athletic loanee’s first-ever league goal and the U’s boss felt it was a tidy finish.

He said: “Brandon will be delighted with his goal, because it’s a classic centre-forward finish.

“The ball comes in, he’s on the move, he gets across the defender and puts it in.

“He’s come back from injury so we’ve had to bide our time on him but now he’s really up to speed.”